New Delhi: Doctors and healthcare providers have been at the receiving end ever since the outbreak of the pandemic COVID 2019. In a letter to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Association of Healthcare Providers (India) AHPI has raised concern about the deplorable treatment that is being meted out to healthcare workers in certain parts of the country. Moreover, instances of stigmatization of healthcare workers, attacks on them and eviction from the places of stay has become a serious issue which is subjecting them to even further stress and strain. If this is allowed to continue, it will affect the morale and motivation of healthcare professionals which will adversely affect our preparation to fight with COVID.
The shocking case of Dr John Sailo founder of Bethany Hospital, Shillong, and Neuro surgeon Dr. Simon Hercules, 52, who was also the Managing Director of New Hope Hospital, Chennai were denied a respectable burial and their mortal remains were subjected to unacceptable and unthinkable humiliation after they sacrificed their lives treating COVID 19 patients. These are among the few of the many incidents from across the country where even after making the supreme sacrifice doctors treating COVID 19 patients have been denied a solemn funeral and peaceful passing away with dignity and honour.
Abuses have ranged from physical attacks to hurling filth and dirt at doctors and health workers on duty and preventing them from using lanes leading to the hospital for commuting under the pretext that if they use the lane they would contribute to the rise in infection in that particular locality .In a nut shell the extent and degree of harassment healthcare workers are enduring is too much to say the least.
We therefore implore that urgent and effective action be taken including promulgating ordinance to ensure the safety and security of health workers. We also appeal that every death of healthcare workers during this COVID 19 pandemic should be accorded the status of a martyr and the mortal remains be laid to rest with full state honour so that their mortal remains are not subjected to indignity of any manner.
It is necessary to mention here that in the Meeting of 19th March 2020 presided over by the Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ms Preeti Sudan, AHPI had raised the issue with the competent authority to “Treat health workers who die handling COVID-19 cases as ‘armed force martyrs”.